Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has won the prestigious PFA Player of the Year award, one day after leading the European Champions into the final of the FA Cup.
Gerrard, who will be hoping to make a big impression for England at the World Cup in Germany in the summer, won the vote among players ahead of Thierry Henry, Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, last season?s winner John Terry, and Wayne Rooney.
Gerrard, 25, won the Young Player of the Year award in 2001, a crown that was retained by Wayne Rooney this year, and finished third last season before lifting the Champions League trophy in Istanbul following Liverpool?s astonishing comeback against AC Milan.
As well as revealing that he had voted for Thierry Henry, Gerrard told the BBC: ?I am still in shock to be honest. To go through to another FA Cup final and win this special award is fantastic for me.’
Internet forums suggested that many fans thought Henry would win the award but, of the players on the shortlist, it could be argued Gerrard is the one whose presence makes the biggest difference to his team ? and perhaps that is why his fellow professionals decided to give him their vote.
He is the first Liverpool player to win the award since John Barnes in 1988, and the fifth overall ? following Ian Rush (1984), Kenny Dalglish (1983) and Terry McDermott (1980).
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was named alongside Gerrard in a Premiership Team of the Year dominated by Chelsea.
Premiership Team of the Year:
Shay Given (Newcastle), Pascal Chimbonda (Wigan), John Terry (Chelsea), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), William Gallas (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).
By Neil Baker